Endings and Beginnings


This is the season of endings; the days are  shorter, birds have migrated and terms end. The garden, whilst still abundant, is no longer quite as vibrant.

Without endings there are no beginnings. Painful as they may feel, endings are a necessary passage to something new, something different – not better or worse, simply different.  I have just forced myself to cut back the old growth in my garden, it was strange to do as there was still plenty of colour, but I am assured that cutting back now will bring fresh growth. And so it is with life. If we let go of the old and trust that something new can emerge we allow ourselves to discover that which is as yet unknown.

People avoid endings for many reasons but the main one is the inability to face the goodbye.  I know of someone who immediately after a relationship ended moved in with a new partner and subsequently got engaged. This suggests she could not bear the pain of loss, which led to her denying the importance of the previous relationship.

In therapy we always work towards an ending and in the final session it is interesting how some people leave without a backward glance whilst others seek the handshake or the hug that brings closure to the journey.

Endings are a marker; they allow a moving on and a new chapter to begin. They are not a denial of what has been but a celebration; this is why funerals are so important – they allow a goodbye.

Memories live on beyond an ending. I always say to patients that when a boat goes over the horizon it does not mean it has disappeared just that we can no longer see it bobbing away.

And so it is with endings. It is about the ability to hold your memories in your heart and keep them close. Eventually there will be a fresh beginning and as with the seasons, something new, something different will grow. And that is life’s full circle at work.

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